60th Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 27-September 18, 2005
Results & report
Stage 8 - Saturday, September 3: Tarragona-Lloret de Mar, 189 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Hernan Alvarez
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:10 CEST
Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live
coverage of the 60th Vuelta a España for today's eighth stage between Tarragona
and Lloret de Mar. Today we're following the coastline in the north east part
of Spain for 189 flat kilometres, and on paper, it's a stage that suits the
sprinters and opportunist breakaway riders.
There are three intermediate
sprints: La Gornal (km 32.9), El Ordal (km 62.9) and the city of Sabadell near
Barcelona (km 101.2). There is also one Cat. 3 climb: the Puerto del Ordal (km
14:39 CEST 79km/110km to go
All 180 remaining
riders signed on in Tarragona and the stage got under way at 12:45pm. The first
attack was a good one, coming at km 6 when Bart Dockx (Davitamon-Lotto) and
Angel Gomez Gomez (Saunier Duval) powered away from the peloton. They were chased
by Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) and Xavier Florencio (Relax Fuenlabrada), who
couldn't close the 20 second gap. Nardello went back to the bunch after 18 km,
while Florencio kept going, despite suffering a puncture at km 24. At this stage,
he was 1'05 from the two leaders, with the peloton at 2'42. Luckily for Florencio,
the leaders waited for him and he got them at km 28.
At the first
sprint in La Gornal (km 32), it was Dockx through first ahead of Gomez and Florencio.
The lead was 4'00 at this point, and the three man break drove on, assisted
by a tailwind. After one hour, they had covered 44 km. At the second sprint
in El Ordal (km 61), Florencio was first ahead of Gomez and Dockx. The advantage
was up to 9'05 at this point.
Right after the sprint, the riders
hit the only climb of the day, the Cat. 3 Puerto del Ordal, where Florencio
crossed the summit first ahead of Gomez and Dockx. In the bunch, Joaquin Rodriguez
(Saunier Duval) took the remaining point for fourth. The gap on the climb was
10'02, and it is now 10'33 after 78 km of racing.
14:53 CEST 88km/101km to go
After two hours of
racing, the average speed is still 43.7 km/h, as the three leaders press their
advantage along the Spanish coastline. Florencio is the best placed on GC, lying
in 88th at 20'39, so he is no threat to Roberto Heras and Liberty Seguros at
15:06 CEST 100km/89km to go
The peloton has started
to ride a little bit harder as the race goes past the halfway point. The last
time check was 9'40 after 100 km. Dockx, Florencio and Gomez are keeping a good
15:16 CEST 103km/86km to go
The leaders are now
through the third sprint of the day at Sabadell, with Dockx taking the maximum
points ahead of Gomez and Florencio.
15:24 CEST 107km/82km to go
After Liberty Seguros
has been setting the controlling tempo, the sprinters teams of Fassa Bortolo
and Credit Agricole have moved to the front, and pegged the gap back to 8'42.
Alessandro Petacchi will be hoping to make up for his missed chance yesterday,
where he punctured in the finale. Winner Max van Heeswijk also punctured, but
he was able to get back to the peloton.
15:33 CEST 111km/78km to go
T-Mobile has also
joined in the fun to help Fassa and Credit Agricole chase the three leaders.
That's a fair bit of firepower already, even without Quick.Step. Erik Zabel
will be wanting a win today, having finished second a few times already. Zabel
has always been one of the most consistent riders in the peloton, even though
he has lost a little of his speed.
15:46 CEST 120km/69km to go
The three sprinters
continue their relentless work on the front of the peloton. Although it looks
easy to an observer, getting a break back from 10 minutes lead requires quite
a bit of gas. Still, that's what they're paid to do and they do it well.
16:00 CEST 136km/53km to go
The chasing peloton
has carved another three minutes off the lead of the break, and it's now down
to 4'52 with 53 km to go. Dockx drops back for a bit, but is now with the other
Heras is in about 10th wheel in the bunch, behind the
Fassa and Credit Agricole trains. T-Mobile has dropped out of the chase for
the time being.
16:05 CEST 142km/47km to go
There's a bit of
action happening at the back of the peloton as several teams go back to the
team cars for bottles. Sastre is back there too, but gets brought up by his
Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears) is getting attention
from the race doctor.
16:08 CEST 147km/42km to go
It's now down to
2'42, as about six riders on the front of the peloton chase the leaders, who
have been away since km 6.
16:12 CEST 150km/39km to go
The peloton races
through La Batlloria, with the break still 2'30 ahead. They're just about to
enter the province of Girona, well known to the American riders.
The break goes around a roundabout
with Dockx leading Florencio and Gomez.
The temps today are around
the 29 degree mark, although it might be a little bit cooler at the finish in
Lloret de Mar with the coastal breeze.
16:18 CEST 155km/34km to go
Jose Ivan Gutierrez
is again seen to by the race doc. He crashed earlier, and has a few cuts and
Credit Agricole is joined by Liberty Seguros in front. Fassa
seems to have dropped back for the time being.
16:23 CEST 159km/30km to go
The gap seems to
be hovering at 2'40 for the time being, even though the peloton is fairly strung
out. Fassa has resumed its position at the front with Credit Agricole, so we
can expect the tempo to pick up. Heras is still very well placed behind his
teammates near the front.
16:29 CEST 162km/27km to go
The chase is definitely
on now, as is customary in the last 25-30 km. The leaders haven't given up of
course, but the speed of the peloton is very high now - well over 50 km/h.
16:31 CEST 165km/24km to go
The gap has really
come down now: 1'05 with just under 25 km to go.
The race is really at two speeds
now, although there's a perfectly good reason for that: three fairly tired riders
in front versus about eight fresher riders at the head of the peloton.
16:34 CEST 167km/22km to go
Baldato does a big
turn in the peloton, then Fabien Sanchez comes through for Credit Agricole with
Juan Antonio Flecha on his wheel. The roads are lined by trees now, a welcome
relief for the riders in the hot sun.
The leaders have hit a small
climb, with a 50 second gap. Dockx tries to keep the tempo going.
16:36 CEST 168km/21km to go
It doesn't matter,
climb or flat, the leaders are rapidly coming back to the peloton. 30 seconds
now as they get a small descent to rest the legs a bit.
16:37 CEST 169km/20km to go
Dockx is one of the
strongest in the break, which is just about done. He has been doing some long
turns. Gomez has been getting to the front and dropping back almost immediately.
16:39 CEST 171km/18km to go
It's almost all finished
for the three leaders, after over 160 km in front. The peloton is just 10 seconds
behind them now.
Dockx does another strong turn as
Florencio checks back to see where the peloton is. They'll hold on for another
16:43 CEST 172km/17km to go
Credit Agricole and
Fassa Bortolo combine to perform the coup de grace, but the leaders persist
for a while longer. It's still 20 seconds.
16:46 CEST 175km/14km to go
Dockx sits up at
last, as Florencio and Gomez keep going for a bit. But it's fruitless, and the
peloton swallows the break with 14 km left.
Quick.Step has moved
near the front now, with Boonen up there.
16:46 CEST 176km/13km to go
is a counter attack by another Relax Fuenlabrada rider. He gets 50 metres, but
not much more than that.
16:47 CEST 177km/12km to go
It's Luis Pasamontes
(Relax) who now has 100 metres. These sorts of breaks normally last about 2
km before the lone rider blows to smithereens.
16:49 CEST 178km/11km to go
Pasamontes and the
peloton negotiate a big roundabout, which involves a 270 degree "corner".
16:50 CEST 179km/10km to go
Pasamontes has 8
seconds as he goes through another roundabout. He'll need at least 10 seconds
in the final kilometre to have a chance.
Nardello moves to the front of the
bunch - things might have been different if he'd persisted with Florencio earlier
today. Well, it would have been a much harder day for him.
16:52 CEST 182km/7km to go
up to 9 km to go with the peloton at 7 seconds and looking very hungry.
Another roundabout, and the peloton
reforms with Credit Agricole driving hard. The lone figure of Luis Pasamontes
hovers tantalisingly out of reach.
Now Davitamon-Lotto get to the
front for Tom Steels.
16:53 CEST 181km/8km to go
Another attack - by
another Relax rider. Pasamontes is caught. Four leaders now, with the peloton
starting to split behind.
Another roundabout. And much confusion.
16:54 CEST 183km/6km to go
Less than 7 km to
go and it's Freddy Gonzalez (Relax) in the lead. Impressive stuff. All the others
have been caught.
Gonzalez is under 6 km to go and
entering the city of Lloret de Mar. The peloton follows the small Colombian,
who is doing his best.
16:56 CEST 184km/5km to go
The road narrows but
most riders make it through. A Lampre rider catches Gonzalez and the two leaders
dangle a few seconds ahead of the bunch.
The peloton catches them on a corner.
All together again.
16:57 CEST 185km/4km to go
The bunch is right
along the coast now, riding along through the palm trees next to the beach.
But they're not looking at the view.
Martin Elmiger gets on the front
with 4 km to go.
16:58 CEST 186km/3km to go
The bunch turns left
and races up a climb as Elmiger launches Perdiguero for an attack. Perdi gets
It's Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Phonak)
who is going to try to steal this stage. But it's a long way to the finish...
16:59 CEST 186.5km/2.5km to go
Perdi looks back
and has 5 seconds. He starts to feel it. But he doesn't give up.
16:59 CEST 187km/2km to go
Perdiguero will be
caught as he goes under 2 km to go. The Fassa train has formed!
It looks like five Fassas for Petacchi,
and the usual fight for the Italian's wheel.
17:00 CEST 188km/1km to go
Bettini is up there
to protect Boonen. Three riders left for Petacchi. Zabel and Boonen fighting
for the wheel. Zabel has it.
Tosatto leads at 1 km to go then
a Credit Agricole push comes up on the left.
Another corner and the peloton splits
It's still Fassa in front, but Hushovd
is in third wheel. Petacchi fifth.
17:02 CEST 189km/0km to go
Hushovd goes off Velo's
wheel, then Bettini and Petacchi come past and Petacchi wins his third stage.
Hushovd holds on for second.
Bettini hung on for third, but Petacchi
was amazing again. He easily got around Hushovd, who had got himself onto Petacchi's
lead out man Marco Velo. Number three for Petacchi.
No changes to
the general classification after stage 8, but tomorrow's time trial in Lloret
de Mar should shake things up a bit. We'll see you all then!
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.19.14
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
3 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step - Innergetic
4 Francisco José Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir
5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic
6 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
7 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team
8 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Cofidis, le credit par telephone
9 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) T-Mobile Team
10 Santos Gonzalez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.03
General classification after stage 8
1 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 33.22.47
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.12
3 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 1.07
4 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 1.09
5 David Blanco Rodiguez (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 1.11
6 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 1.26
7 Unai Yus Kerejeta (Spa) Bouygues Telecom 1.37
8 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 1.39
9 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Quick Step - Innergetic
10 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 1.58
the commentary team
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